Mask and vaccine verification mandates ending but cautions and questions remain, remembering Executive Order 9066, Board of Health repeals bicycle helmet law, join me next Wednesday...

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Banner image showing King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles.

February 17, 2022

people dining out

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

According to the latest King County data, more than 87% of residents aged 12 and over have been vaccinated against COVID, and case numbers and hospitalizations have been falling rapidly in the past few weeks (following the enormous surge caused by the Omicron variant).

In light of these data, Public Health and King County announced yesterday an end to the vaccination verification policy on March 1st. Operators of restaurants, bars and gyms will no longer have to verify a vaccination or negative COVD test for each customer. County Executive Constantine also announced that the County is beginning to plan for a return to the office. More details are included below.

And, this afternoon, the Governor announced that mask mandates for schools and businesses will end on March 21st, see below for details.

So, does this mean the pandemic is over? I would love as much as anyone to rip off my mask and head straight to a crowded restaurant. But I do think some continued caution is well advised. COVID-19 has not disappeared. It is still spreading in various parts of the globe, which means it continues to mutate (it’s just what viruses do). And, there remain significant questions about vulnerable populations, long COVID, and other potential long-term effects of the virus, as well as when children under the age of five will be able to be vaccinated. See below for more on this topic.

On another matter, you may be aware that the Board of Health today took up consideration of the law requiring bicycle helmets, the enforcement of which has been shown to disproportionately impact people of color and those experiencing homelessness. Today’s deliberation by the King County Board of Health on repealing the King County bicycle helmet law was respectful and thorough, ending in a vote to repeal the law. I was the only vote against the repeal, which I explain more below.

I also want to mention that Saturday is the 80th anniversary of the issuance of Executive Order 9066, when the U.S. government forcibly incarcerated hundreds of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II. I’m including more below on activities for this “Day of Remembrance.”

And remember my virtual Town Hall being held next Wednesday, February 23rd!

And, as of next week, we will be transitioning to a once-weekly e-newsletter. So, beginning next week, look for the e-newsletter on Thursdays only, although we will continue to send out special editions as needed.  

As always, I would like to hear from you. You can call me at 206-477-1004 or you can reach me by email at  

All the best and I hope you are staying safe.